Jahlil Okafor has seemed to find a team he can thrive with in the New Orleans Pelicans.
With Anthony Davis being out the past four games because of an index finger injury, Okafor has shined as the Pelicans’ main big. Okafor helped lead the Pelicans to a 121-116 win Tuesday over the Houston Rockets, scoring a season-high 27 points on 73.3 percent shooting and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Before Tuesday night’s game, Okafor was averaging 19.8 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game in the Pelicans’ past four games. Okafor used his strong post game well, as he got good position inside to score buckets. Even with Okafor’s new frame, his foot-work and ability to over-power his defender allows him to still dominate on the block.
Along with his performance on offense, Okafor also contributed on defense. He tallied two blocks, and in the previous four games Okafor averaged 2.8 blocks per game.
Jahlil Okafor, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, began his career with the Philadelphia 76ers. He was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in December 2017, and he joined the Pelicans as a free agent last August.
Though Okafor has bounced around to start his career, he seems to have a found a team he can finally provide value for. If the Pelicans decide to keep Davis, despite his desire to be traded, Okafor can be a solid backup for him because of his ability to score in the low-post. If not, and the Pelicans decide to move AD, maybe they move forward with Jahlil as their go to in the post on offense and see how that works itself out.
In addition to his low post prowess, though, Okafor also seems to be growing as a defender, which can only add to his value for the Pelicans. That’s been the part of his game that has not enabled teams to play him because of his poor play. That seems to all be changed now.
One thing that is certain is that Jahlil Okafor is back.